Susan and Alex Child
(Photo courtesy of Adam Child)
By Natasha Clark
Assistant Managing Editor
ACTON You can hear the pride in Susan Child's voice when she speaks about her oldest son Alex.
The 11-year-old has taken a page write out of his beloved Harry Potter series when it comes to courage. Alex has been helping his family raise funds for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Alex is the grandson of Maurice Fieldstein, longtime MS fund-raiser and owner of Longmeadow's Brightwood True Value Hardware.
He joins his family and friends every year as they participate in the MS Challenge Walk on Cape Cod each year, pitching in extra donations whenever he can by hosting such side gigs as lemonade stands.
But this year Alex combined two of his favorite things J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series and fund-raising for MS. Alex wrote Rowling and told her about the MS Walk and asked her if she could speak at the 2007 Cape Cod MS Challenge Walk. Rowling's mother passed from complications to MS in 1990 and she speaks out about the illness often.
Child said about three weeks later she arrived home to find a box addressed to Alex from Edinburgh, Scotland.
"When he opened it up there was a one and a half page [handwritten] letter and two books. She said she was sorry she would not be able to come to the walk but that she thinks it's great what he's doing. The first book was inscribed to Alex and the second book was for the walk and [to be] auctioned off," Child said. "It was wonderful. A handwritten letter was astounding. We never thought we would be receiving anything like that."
The duo contacted their local bookstore in Acton, Mass. and on July 20 threw an all-day event with magicians, musicians and raffles, raising $1,530.
"People were really amazing. [And we] appreciate it. It wasa really experience," Child said.
Even Zach, Alex's six-year-old brother, got in on the fun by having the honor's of selecting the winning raffle ticket for the autographed Harry Potter book.
Child said she hopes the success of the event encourages her sons to "do more service-oriented" work. "He's been doing the Walk for five years. Next week [we will again] on Sept. 7,8,9. It's 50 miles. It starts in Hyannis and is 20 miles the first day, 20 the second, and 10 the last day."
To learn more about the 2007 Cape Cod MS Challenge Walk, visit www.nationalmssociety.org.